Rich & Poor
Queen of the mountain. Dominique stands atop a manure pile that Hans pushed up with his 125 HP John Deere tractor. The pile—mellow, sweet, and rich—represents manure and hay refuse from the area under four round bale feeders that fed hay to 150 ewes from November to March.
I will distribute this organic material across the entire yard where the ewes spent last winter. This fall we will plant the garlic there; next fall we will plant the garlic in the area where the ewes overwinter this year. This is how garlic follows sheep around the farm.
I pull an old New Holland 125 bushel manure spreader with my 35 HP Massey Ferguson tractor. The spreader is loaded from the pile using the bucket on the front end of the tractor; the spreader is then attached to the rear end of the tractor and linked to a power-take-off shaft that drives a chain to pull the load slowly into the rapidly spinning 12" blades breaking up the clumps and throwing the material evenly behind me. The spread manure and hay will be rototilled into the soil increasing its organic matter content and consequently its fertility.
At market strollers-by sometimes remark, "Oh look, they use both the lamb and the wool..." "Yes," I reply, "and we grow garlic in soil fertilized with sheep manure—nothing is wasted here."